The Tribe

Consider the tribe of shrewd and savage warriors who settled along the shore of a great lake. Though they were a violent people, they were also capable and intelligent, and sought development before they sought conquest. Farms were built that took advantage of the fresh water nearby. Forests were cut down and used for construction on mills, granaries and shrines to honor their brooding and temperamental Gods.


Soon they encountered neighboring settlements. There were persnickety city-states with endless demands, hordes of hungry, wayfaring brutes and the occasional representative from other, even mightier nations. Despite their ancestral bloodlust, the tribe resigned themselves to a temporarily-peaceful coexistence, and began dallying in small bouts of diplomacy and trade. After expanding, their resources dwindled, and they were unable to indulge in military campaigns due to constant raids - both on their own cities and those of their neighbors. So the tribesmen entrenched themselves in works of artistry and culture while building a small military force in order to protect themselves, as well as the lucrative settlements which had taught them the benefits of trade and commerce.


Once active, the meager grouping of soldiers quickly proved themselves in multiple battles. Their numbers were few, but each individual warrior was given intensive and brutal training, and their understanding of the local terrain gave them a keen edge over any interloper. Their work was cut out for them however, as dozens of temporary camps were discovered within their claimed lands - many still housing the bloodthirsty nomads which had built them. Because of this, the now-masterful fighting bands were forced to maintain constant patrols between their own territories and those of their tentative allies. Were they to neglect this responsibility, innocent citizens would likely become victimized, and their trade routes would remain stifled.


Elder members of the tribe grew restless. The roots of their beloved nation - once nourished by fearful tribute and the plunders of conquest - were now planted firmly in an area teeming with heterogeneous beliefs and cultures. They were a warlike people whose blood ran hot, so the elders claimed, and to exist passively while cavorting with other, more idealistic communities ran counter to everything they had ever known. In spite of these protests, the tribe continued to flourish; soon acquiring a reputation among lesser governing bodies as something of a protector from raiders, whose numbers they had thinned considerably. Their military forces remained minute and efficient, never having to overstep boundaries or bolster their numbers with new recruits. When passing near friendly settlements, they were often recognized, invited in, and treated lavishly by the grateful townspeople.


It was an unprecedented age of stability and progress. Having been forced to divert their latent tenacity to things beyond the scope of their fighting prowess; the newly-enlightened tribe was able to press on, making great strides in fields as diverse as music, architecture, and archaeology. They were touted as heroes and paragons of civilized virtue, and those who praised them began to emulate their society and its customs - even going so far as to adopt the tribe’s fledgling religion as their own. Iconic sculptures and captivating works of art were created by admirers both near and far, detailing the tribe’s emergence, the policies they had drafted and the era they had ushered in.


Though doomed to work against their formerly-barbarous lifestyle, the tribe had at last begun to truly relish in their civil and intellectual prosperity. Resource centers remained under siege, forcing the tribe’s elite fighting force to retaliate continuously. These interventions brought relief not only to their own people, but to other populations who, unbeknownst to the tribe’s leadership, had been in dire need of aid for some time. Their praises were sung as the tribe’s collective minds expanded. Among their growing population were scholars: born of the new age, and the first to be noted and celebrated in the history of their people. They were voracious for greater knowledge and insight, which only proved to strengthen cultural relations as they traveled the world, seeking great tomes, scriptures and historical treatises. Scientists, musicians, writers and explorers were lauded as figures of high aspiration - an ideal that differed greatly from the tribe’s former edict: valuing strength and ruthlessness above all else.


A new generation, born and raised under the zeitgeist of civility now imbuing itself in the tribe, eventually wrested control from their ailing predecessors. Those tribesmen who still clung to the antiquated principles of olden times were ostracized and barred from voicing their opinions on any and all matters of importance. Borders were opened to all but a few, and settlements were encouraged to diversify and expand. When threats of great conflict loomed overhead, the tribe could rely on the combined military strength of their allies for support, while retaining their own limited yet expert forces. These veteran soldiers would often act as advisers during wartime, regardless of the tribe’s involvement in the ordeal itself.


The world continued developing around them, using the now-legendary tribe’s example as an archetype for what makes a nation truly stand the test of time. They and their innumerable allies continued to provide mutual aid and support for each other through subsequent ages; staving off drought, threats of war and genocide and reversing the stagnation of lesser societies with little ability to help themselves. They continue to prosper whilst sharing their bounty with all who walk a path of peaceful concordance, and remain unopposed as the primary superpower in a world so often divided by petty strife.


Now, we must consider the tribe who had no choice but to cultivate themselves when their former way of life was stolen by fate. Their capital sits at the northernmost shore of a great lake, while the rest of the lake’s breadth has been encircled by affiliated cities and outposts. They relay supplies and information to one another, utilizing a vast, interconnected web of trade and commerce: this being the end result of a peaceful coexistence that was once imposed, and now embraced. And while their story must conclude, their history will continue writing itself — for the benefit of all the world, and for the individual, to study.


(Written by Robert D. Ventre II -- don't steal my shit)

Author's Notes/Comments: 

I am without shame when I say that this was 100% inspired by a game of Civilization V I am currenly invested in. I'm actually in love with the overall concept (of a warlike nation forced to become diplomatic and progressive due to circumstances beyond their control) and am extremely proud of how quickly I belted out this little story (thanks, corporate lunch hour!). I may go so far as to take the premise, delve into much greater detail and turn it into a proper, historically-fictional story. Let me know if you would enjoy that.

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The armies stood on fateful shore,

With axes and swords on the fore,

Their sights upon a single ship,

With same words uttered upon each lip,

“Is it he? Has he come?”

Many claim he hath come not

From the earth where man is got,

But the sky where rains hail from.


His father, of forge, fire and of steel,

Hephaestus, maker of lightning’s shrill,

Thrown from heaven by Zeus’ hand,

Cast down the clouds, unjustly damned.

Merciful earth though, saved the lame,

With fruits abundant, blessed his health,

Gave him strength to roam the earth,

To seek purpose in exile’s shame.


On Colchian path, Caucasian mount,

He walked on his way to no end,

To find a body pale on dry dust,

Still flowing with warm crimson blood.

With quick heart rather than quick wits,

He ran close to the dying lad,

Drew sharp steel and slit his wrist,

Then from god dripped golden red.



Strongly armed with clear thought,

Rather than hammer heaven got,

With intentions of truth and peace,

Rather than armoured plate and steel,

Did Just Dykaion march to shore,

To his ship small but

To help him guide the ship’s oars,

To meet the armies of two kings bold.


Landing on barren land between,

He jumped to shore with lightning feet,

Shaking alike land and men,

And with honest speech began:

“Why do brothers stand here, war-armed,

When we all are joined by old blood?

Beyond all petty reason be,

to slash, and slay, and slaughter,

Till blood fill the endless sea.”


To this rightful account

Did the northern king look with fault,

Face full of fury and reproach,

 “Yet when one’s own brother in heart,

did steal your love from loving clutch,

and better yet, flaunt it with happy haught,

do you sit there a stolid dolt,

Or stand and take arms in jolt?”



In silent thought, with conscience loud,

Did Dykaion’s plan Astenos allowed,

To return the fair maiden to rightful land,

That good peace may come at hand.

He bided to see the queen set free,

That war will and would never be,

Then climbed aboard his lonely ship,

And set sail home through sea.


Though heaven’s power was in clasp,

Beyond Cyclopes’ arm and Talos’ hand,

It was through wise word and true heart,

That did Dykaion was hero and man.


Author's Notes/Comments: 

My first epic poem... actually, my first poem to be posted here. Hope you guys like it :)

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